Cabaret & Variety review: Elsie Diamond: The Sensible Undresser

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: In this evocative, amusing and insightful burlesque Bildungsroman, performer Elsie Diamond takes us through her career in cabaret – or rather that of her alter ego, Winnie Sparkletits.

CC Blooms (Venue 171)


The story provides the framework for a series of seductive strips and genre-appropriate live songs, as well as a range of savvy cultural, economic and political observations. For twenty-something Elsie/Winnie, burlesque offered a way out of a seemingly preordained and boring life, a path to glamour, confidence and self-expression that also involved elements of insecurity, judgment and loneliness.

Diamond is a confident and engaging guide to the burlesque demimonde and a multi-talented performer. She balances classical burlesque skills with accessible real-time commentary on the form and has a fine voice, bringing life to a somewhat over-familiar set list occasionally invigorated by bespoke new lyrics.

Aspects of the show are technically overambitious, leading to a few glitches, but Diamond’s articulate honesty, generosity and self-determination shine through: whether hailing her inspirations, calling out social media neurosis or giving top tips on rendering banal objects achingly glamorous, The Sensible Undresser makes for an absorbing account of a labour of love.

Until August 27. Tomorrow 4:15pm.